Unable to update/upgrade/install Ubuntu 14.04, and it shows the below:

Get:21 http://us.archive.ubuntu.com trusty/universe Translation-en [4,089 kB] 
E: Method bzip2 has died unexpectedly!
 E: Sub-process bzip2 received signal 25.

Also while upgrading - shows '0%':

I was fixing as error ' sts...0% ' while upgrading Ubuntu. I tried creating a manual sources.list. I reverted the changes to the file, but the error is still there.

  • 1
    #25 is SIGXFSZ -> the program wrote a file larger than permitted. Usually no such limit is set; post the output of ulimit -f.
    – goldilocks
    Commented Jun 28, 2014 at 16:11
  • result of ulimit -f is 15000
    – Shaishav
    Commented Jul 5, 2014 at 10:48

1 Answer 1


result of ulimit -f is 15000

This is the limit, in kB, on the size of files that can be written by the current shell or any descendent process. It should normally be unlimited. The install process will likely require writing files bigger than 15 MB.

E: Sub-process bzip2 received signal 25.

Processes receive signals from other process or the OS kernel. You can send them with kill; using ctrl-c, ctrl-d, etc. also sends signals. You can see a list of them with kill -l:

 1) SIGHUP       2) SIGINT       3) SIGQUIT      4) SIGILL       5) SIGTRAP
 6) SIGABRT      7) SIGBUS       8) SIGFPE       9) SIGKILL     10) SIGUSR1
11) SIGSEGV     12) SIGUSR2     13) SIGPIPE     14) SIGALRM     15) SIGTERM
16) SIGSTKFLT   17) SIGCHLD     18) SIGCONT     19) SIGSTOP     20) SIGTSTP
21) SIGTTIN     22) SIGTTOU     23) SIGURG      24) SIGXCPU     25) SIGXFSZ

That's the first 25 on my system; they are mostly specified by POSIX (although only a handful with corresponding numbers). In any case, this list is probably consistent across GNU/Linux. If you search this page you'll see SIGXFSZ is supposed to mean "File size limit exceeded" and a bit more digging connects that to the ulimit settings.

ulimit can be use to set as well as get. Try sudo ulimit -f unlimited, double check (ulimit -f) and then try your upgrade again.

  • ':~$ ulimit -f unlimited' -bash: ulimit: file size: cannot modify limit: Operation not permitted :~$ sudo ulimit -f unlimited sudo: ulimit: command not found'
    – Shaishav
    Commented Jul 6, 2014 at 14:50
  • You have to have privileges to do the upgrade anyway, so just log in as root (or use su), check ulimit -f and change it if necessary, etc. If you cannot do that, then you are stuck. Without root access, you cannot change ulimit -f so you can't do anything that exceeds it.
    – goldilocks
    Commented Jul 6, 2014 at 14:59

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